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Old 10-10-2017, 03:30 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles
3,817 posts, read 2,502,266 times
Reputation: 11576

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Hi Folks. I've never wandered into this section before, but I need a little guidance. I have in my possession the discharge papers from the Civil War for one of my ancestors. This got me thinking about tracing my family tree and I find that I am a descendant of Charles Woolverton who sailed to America with William Penn and helped him to found Pennsylvania. I have become fascinated with this and want to pursue more. The Woolverton (Wolverton) family is apparently a big deal both here and in England and I have found out quite a bit by just Googling around, but I'd like to see things like documents & photos as well, if available. I don't mind investing in a membership to one of the genealogy sites, but I see that there are many. Can you offer suggestions on the best ones you've found?

My plan is to prepare a complete family history and give it at Christmas to my Son and my sister's family as well. Any help is appreciated. Thanks in advance for your help.
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Old 10-10-2017, 04:21 PM
 
Location: Georgia, USA
25,141 posts, read 30,041,038 times
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Mike, I have very bad news for you.

There is no such thing as a "complete family history".

Also, all you will be able to do between now and Christmas is barely scratch the surface. By the time you go back five generations you will have 32 lines to research.

There are several threads in this forum that will help you get started. Welcome!
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Old 10-10-2017, 06:12 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles
3,817 posts, read 2,502,266 times
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Hi Suzy, I fear that you're correct. I have fallen down the Google hole and have found some amazing things. Just one book on the Woolverton Family History is 860 pages long. I think I'll revise my search to discovering "highlights" about my family history. Which subscription site would you advise me to start with ?
Thanks.
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Old 10-10-2017, 06:32 PM
 
Location: Colorado (PA at heart)
9,254 posts, read 14,288,445 times
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Firstly, be careful about how you traced back to Charles Woolverton - if you're looking at other people's family trees, they can contain a lot of errors. Not everyone is a diligent researcher so be careful about copying from other trees.

You definitely won't be done by Christmas. That doesn't mean you can't create gifts from your family tree by Christmas, but just know you'll likely find more if you continue researching after Christmas. Most of us have been doing this for many years and will never consider ourselves "done". Just when you think you've gotten as far as you can, you find something and break down a brick wall.

Ancestry.com is definitely the biggest online genealogy resource on the internet. It's not cheap though, and if you have the time for it, you can probably access it for free at your local library - but that will limit your access to it. Also make use of FamilySearch.org - which is a great resource, and it's free for all (even from home), but be aware that hosting your tree there means anyone can edit it (Ancestry.com allows you to control who can access or edit your tree). That should be enough to get you started.

Lastly, let me warn you that this is addictive. Good luck!
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Old 10-10-2017, 08:40 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles
3,817 posts, read 2,502,266 times
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Thanks for the tips, PA2UK. I have a bit of a head start since I have a hand-written family tree handed down from my grandmother who was the last Wolverton in our line after she married my grandfather and changed the family name. She also passed down her grandfather's Civil War documents. It does begin with Charles in 1660 and shows all of the children of succeeding generations right up to my father. I guess what I'm really looking for is the highlights and interesting facts. For example, Charles' son Daniel had a daughter Mary who married General Daniel Bray who gathered the boats together for George Washington's crossing of the Delaware. Washington often visited the Brays and Woolvertons when he was in the area. Also, Woolverton ancestors have married into 13 Presidential families including Washington's and Lincoln's.

I find this stuff fascinating and I totally understand how addictive it can become.
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Old 10-10-2017, 09:32 PM
 
5,214 posts, read 4,512,668 times
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Start with your grandmother's tree and verify each fact by finding supporting documents. I'd use ancestry.com.
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Old 10-10-2017, 09:45 PM
 
Location: Georgia, USA
25,141 posts, read 30,041,038 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JustMike77 View Post
Hi Suzy, I fear that you're correct. I have fallen down the Google hole and have found some amazing things. Just one book on the Woolverton Family History is 860 pages long. I think I'll revise my search to discovering "highlights" about my family history. Which subscription site would you advise me to start with?
Thanks.
There are good hints in this thread:

//www.city-data.com/forum/genea...l#post49045564

Some folks here prefer Family Search, which is free. I have been more successful with Ancestry.com, which has a two week free trial. If you use the free trial, try to do it when you can spend a lot of time on the site.

Family history books can be intimidating, but you often find that what you are really interested in will only be a few pages out of those 860, usually the info on the most distant known ancestors. It hopefully will include documentation of sources.

Since you are just beginning, I would encourage you to get a software program (see the link above) and get in the habit of documenting every fact, even the info you have from your grandmother (which is wonderful to have).
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Old 10-10-2017, 10:40 PM
 
1,708 posts, read 1,028,885 times
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Be aware that all those nice search engines come about by someone typing in the information. Obviously people make mistakes because either their research is wrong or they can't read the script. I've found mistakes on Ancestry and tons of mistakes on Family Search.

Go for vital records. You'd be surprised how far back you can get. Birth, marriage, and death.
Visit those cemeteries. Write the church affiliated with that cemetery.
Then visit the census. Make copies of everything you find with film roll number, county, page number, etc.
When the trail grows lighter, consult tax records. By this time you know where your ancestors lived and that the head of the household paid taxes. Easy to see when the head of household dies - The taxes revert to the wife or son, whoever inherits. If you have names of the wife and oldest son, you'll see those crop up. Instant death year. Consulting tax records is a source not many think of but one out there. You just need to think of how it can help you -- Especially if there's 4 John Brown families living in the same small township.. . You can narrow the information down to which one is your direct ancestor, which farm, and consult county records.
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Old 10-11-2017, 07:37 AM
 
Location: Atlanta
5,758 posts, read 4,435,492 times
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I have been a member of Ancestry.com for about 10 years.. i have the info there invaluable. Not my only source but it certainly can get you up and running very quickly in your research!

Just remember like others have said, scrutinize other members trees aggressively. I use other members trees for 3rd or 4th qualifiers vs primary qualifiers..
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Old 10-12-2017, 09:16 PM
 
1,708 posts, read 1,028,885 times
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One source not many know about but is free -- The Daughters of the American Revolution Library.
The DAR actively stores any genealogical information not just lineage dealing with patriots. Of course if you know of a patriot ancestor, you have most of your research done for you.

I will say that those applications to the DAR consists of the applicant proving their link to one or more patriots. Every generation is documented. Those applications are checked by the local chapter then on to national and checked by two genealogists. In this organization, no one gets a free ride. If the information doesn't check out, applicants don't get in. It's as simple as that.

So again, if you know of a patriot ancestor or can link to one, this is a great source. I'd go this route over family search or any other genealogical search engine. Searches are free.
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